We’re a little obsessed with “nutrients” these days – carbs, protein (!!), fat; how much, what kind, and when.
Here’s the truth: if you eat a varied, primarily whole food, plant-based diet, then you don’t need to worry about individual nutrients. Whole, plant foods will naturally give you what you need (with the exception of B12).
Yeah, but you heard carbs are “bad”? Yeah, but you heard cutting carbs is the best way to lose weight? Yeah, but you heard you need to count your grams of carbs?
It’s not how much, it’s what kind
All carbs are not equal. We can categorize them in two ways…
Whole vs. Over-processed
Think apple vs. apple juice, whole grain bread vs. white bread, or oatmeal vs. Froot Loops. If you choose carbohydrate-rich foods that are as close to their whole food form as possible, you’re in good shape. When whole foods are morphed into overly processed foods, we lose important pieces of the original. The food can no longer work its synergistic super powers. Bottom line: eat foods as close to their whole food form as possible!
Fiber-rich vs. Fiber-poor
Fiber is one of the key pieces of the puzzle when it comes to a healthy high-carb diet. Without fiber, we get an unwelcome (and unhealthy) spike in blood sugar. With fiber, carbohydrate-rich foods release their sugar at a slow and steady (and healthy) pace. This is pretty much the same as whole vs. over-processed except when it comes to sweeteners. Most “natural” sweeteners are void of fiber and antioxidants, so use these (maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.) sparingly. Our favorite whole, fiber-rich sweetener? Dates!
Carbs HELP with weight loss
There’s a lot of hype about low-carb weight-loss diets. Sure, you can lose weight by cutting carbs. But it comes at a cost – a cost to your health and your mood. According to the science,a whole food, plant-based diet is the healthiest diet… and it’s primarily carbs. In fact, the standard whole food, plant-based diet is about 80% carbohydrates! And it’s the only diet proven to reverse the to #1 most deadly disease in the U.S., heart disease.
What about weight loss? It does that too! In a recent study that looked at several weight-loss diets spanning from 100% vegan to a standard low-calorie omnivorous diet, the vegans lost the most weight by far and they ate the highest percentage of carbs!
Wait, there’s more…
If you still aren’t convinced, check out T. Colin Campbell’s book The Low-Carb Fraud.
We eat food, not nutrients! Your best bet is to focus on eating more of the foods that you know to be healthy vs. worrying about the nutrients they’re made of. More whole, plant foods, less worrying!